Your Key to Sports Success: ISFP Description
This type description comes from Your Key to Sports Success (12th Edition, 2006) by Jonathan Niednagel. An updated edition is expected to be released later this year, and if you would like to know more about Jonathan Niednagel's Brain Typing system you can purchase the book from his web site, BrainTypes.com - Understanding for the new millenium.
BEAR / ISFP "Artisan"
appreciates beauty and texture; artistic, athletic and graceful; reticent, not verbally expressive; realistic; sensitive, modest, kind; sympathetic; impulsive, enjoys freedom; service-oriented; gross motor skilled.
The ISFP is an artist with athletic grace and an artist with interpersonal relationships. The ISFP is humble, kind, harmonious, skilled, artsy, serene, curious, impulsive, fun loving, visual, and sensing. This free flowing Brain Type dislikes routine and schedule.
As children, ISFPs are often noncompetitive, nonverbal, warm, and reserved. They do well in an atmosphere of freedom where they are nurtured and appreciated. They are sensitive to color, texture, and touch, learning best by hands on experiences. Under stress, ISFPs are prone to mood swings, people of sensitive and somewhat fragile emotions. ISFPs are subject to depression and need gentle, loving encouragement along with some helpful guidelines.
The ISFP may develop interest in art, photography, dancing, music, sports, clothing, food – whatever is sensory and visual. Like all SPs, ISFPs are perfectionists in their work. They are closely in tune with their bodies and enjoy the feelings they get from graceful movement.
To express themselves, ISFPs turn to action, intricate gift making and crafts, and written expressions of appreciation. As lovers of nature, they relate well to animals as well as with small children.
Being a “now” person, the ISFP lives to enjoy the moment, wanting excitement. The ISFP plans for and plans on having a lot of leisure and free time to enjoy simple pleasures. We often find the ISFP beautifying the environment, focusing on the needs of others, and coming to the aid of the less fortunate.
The ISFP has a few close friends and a larger group of friends who are attracted to the kind, quiet, easy to live with personality. ISFPs are peacemakers, promoting harmony and avoiding disagreements. They readily sense the needs and feelings of others and work to help them reach their goals. This constant interaction builds relationships, bringing people together in cooperation.
ISFPs may overlook their own needs. They need to be less self critical, being perhaps the most humble and most misunderstood of all the Types. They constantly underestimate their own abilities and accomplishments, which can keep them from doing something that a far less capable person will end up doing. ISFPs will be happiest in work deeply meaningful to them, keeping contact with the outside world, keeping their goals clearly in sight.
If you find someone who enjoys life, is reflective, compassionate, pleasant and kind, you may have found a good friend, an ISFP who will rarely judge you but help you in your personal pursuits.
ISFP Sports profile
ISFPs are Introverted, right-brained SFs. They are gifted in the use of their gross motor skills, specializing in body rhythm that produces an artistic, graceful flow. ISFPs are prolific athletes and prevalent in most American sports. In 1998, baseball’s Mark McGwire, ISFP, broke the long-held single-season record for home runs.
ISFPs’ Introversion enables them to concentrate deeply, to ponder their favorite sport thoroughly. Being Feelers, they do not possess the logical, hair splitting abilities of the Thinkers. Yet they can perform superbly in most sports. They tend to make their decisions from experience or synthetic reasoning. The less analysis involved in competition, the better they will perform under pressure.
In my sports consulting endeavors, I’m often asked why ISFP athletes aren’t more aggressive. Coaches are normally looking for the energetic and aggressive mentality. By their innate natures, ISFPs don’t consistently operate this way. This needn’t be a liability, however. With regular, encouraging oversight and help in tapping into their individual motivations, ISFPs’ energies can be extended. They are not the Type that regularly seeks to destroy the enemy/competitor with physical punishment. As dominant Feelers, they seek harmony with others. Yet if competitors make them mad, watch out; ISFPs can unleash inordinate amounts of energy, aggression, and emotion.
Track and field’s world record-holder Michael Johnson, ISFP, has illustrated his Brain Type’s natural style. When asked about his desire to play pro football in 1996, the speedster Johnson recalled his high school days in football-loving Texas:
Originally Posted by Michael Johnson
Do not let the gentle and caring ISFP fool you when it comes to competition. If they care about the activity, they can surprise you. In 1992, the L.A. Times wrote of ISFP Jackie Joyner-Kersee (heptathlon world record-holder and Olympic gold medalist):
Remarkably, even with her titles and records, Joyner-Kersee says her competitors sometimes reveal a lack of respect. Perhaps they misread her friendliness as a lack of competitiveness.
Once again, speaking of jockey Bill Shoemaker, horse owner Doug Atkins said:
Originally Posted by Doug Atkins
When ISFPs get focused in their Introverted Feeling function, they can become intense and competitive. Generally, this doesn’t happen around others, unless there is competition. I know a former NFL receiver and ISFP who is as gentle as a lamb, except when you do such things as invite him over for a friendly tag football game. He was a bloody mess the last time I saw him play for fun.
ISFP athletes often have reputations of being calm operators in their sport (such as track and field’s Michael Johnson, tennis’ Bjorn Borg, and golf’s Ernie Els). Following Els’ back-to-back PGA Tour victories in 1997 (the U.S. Open and Buick Classic), fellow pro Brad Faxon said of the easygoing Els:
Cool, Calm, and Collected
Originally Posted by Brad Faxon
ISFPs’ laid back style and right-brained dominance (P) contribute to this perception. Yet little do fans realize the great emotion and inner concerns often dealt with by this Brain Type.
Television commercials portraying the long-lasting Energizer bunnies parallel ISFPs as the most durable athletes in career longevity. They are the Methuselahs of sports. Since SFs are gross motor dominant, they rely on their large body muscles more than the other 12 Types (SJs, NFs, and NTs). Since SFPs are generally more athletic than SFJs, they’re found much more often in pro sports. And between ISFP and ESFP, ISFPs appear to hang around pro sports the longest. Consider Robert Parish. In 1997, after playing his 21st NBA season as a 43-year-old, Parish retired as No. 1 on the all-time NBA list in number of games played. In 1997, at age 69, ISFP Gordie Howe (Mr. Hockey) made a brief game appearance (with 20,000 cheering and admiring fans) to become the only pro in his sport to compete in six decades!
At the age of 70, Dr. Tom Amberry became the world free throw record holder by hitting 2,750 free throws in 12 hours – without a miss! I was fortunate to get to meet and Brain Type Dr. Amberry, and to better understand how this remarkable feat could be performed – by a senior citizen, no less. The answer can be summed up: ISFP.
In his 80s, former pro and ISFP Gardner Mulloy was the consummate player among the most senior tennis players. In 2000, 44-year-old NFL quarterback Warren Moon, ISFP, played his 24th year in professional football! Don’t be surprised if you find an ISFP still going strong athletically when other Types of comparable age have faded.
Teach young ISFPs to “use their heads,” to think of their sport and its strategies, and so forth. This will help them when they enter competition and are more apt to rely upon their Feeling function.
ISFPs can be top notch football players. Though they can play every position, they especially excel at wide receiver.
ISFPs respond and learn best when they are treated with sensitivity and commended for their efforts. They often fail to see their potential. ISFPs love to have fun in whatever they do.
ISFPs easily lose confidence. They are known to struggle as much as any Type in the area of proper self image. When ISFPs become highly proficient at their sport, they will not have the struggles of other ISFPs who have yet to make their mark. Nevertheless, ISFPs can easily lose their confidence even at the professional level. It is wise for them to get objective, constructive input from those they trust.
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